Friday, May 27, 2011

Getting Dirty in Public // LA Urban Gardening

I've decided to claim this little patch of dry, uninviting soil near my apartment. The weeds have died away, which means there's probably not a lot of nutrition in the soil right now considering how much rain we had the week before I took these pictures. That's going to change. I'm starting by putting my vegetable peels and trimmings in the ground. Sure, I could attempt to maintain a real compost heap and then amend the soil with that, but the energy expenditure it takes just doesn't make sense with limited space, time, and raw material I have. And I figure that the moisture from the raw vegetation will be good for the soil, anyway. 

First trench
After receiving a bounty of vegetable trimmings to add to my own healthy supply (which I keep in the fridge in marked containers to prevent strange and terrible odors from accumulating in the kitchen), I took to the streets. To this corner. I dug a couple of trenches with my favorite gardening tool, spread out the veg, and buried the goods.

I'm not sure what I'll grow there yet. I started some chamomile which might be ready to go in the ground in a few weeks. I'm going to hope for June gloom so that whatever I end up planting there doesn't shrivel up like one not-so-fortunate succulent my friend and I guerrilla-planted a few blocks away. And forgot to water. For weeks. Woops.

Since this spot is just around the corner, I'll be able to keep an eye on it. I'm into growing things that don't need too much attention, so I'll try to get succulents and other hardy plants established. And once the soil gets healthier, who knows, maybe some rogue tomatoes will pop up like they did here. I'm not very worried about the city messing with whatever ends up growing here since there are tons of weeds growing wildly up and down the side of the street, but I'll hedge my bets by putting some markers around whatever sweet little green things I plant here. I'm excited about walking down this corner in a few months and seeing something growing instead of a little patch of desolation.

Links to some of my online urban-gardening/agriculture inspirations:
  • Root Simple (formerly Homegrown Evolution) - Los Angeles urban homesteaders
  • Eating in Public - A gardening and free-cycling movement in Hawaii
  • LA Guerrilla Gardening - Gardening public space with or without permission.
  • City Farmer - A website that aggregates articles and stories of urban gardening from all over the world
Have any of you adopted your own patch of public land? I'd love to hear about it!


  1. My neighbors and I have adopted a little triangle of land that separates our street from the freeway entrance. It's usually overgrown with weeds. We've planted two trees and some succulents and try to keep at least part of it weedfree. We've only made a dent, but it is way nicer than what it was. The little church across the street lets us use their water.

  2. Cool! I'll have to take a peek the next time I come by. What kind of trees did you plant? Anything fruit-bearing?